10.08.21

Must-Have Technologies For An eCommerce Project

The creation of an IT infrastructure is one of the main phases of the e-commerce business. An online store owner is faced with a big challenge — to competently assemble all the technological components necessary for successful e-commerce development. This task requires several tools related to administration, management of the internal processes, and maintenance of external communications.

Let's consider the list of IT systems without which it is difficult to imagine a modern online store. It may differ depending on the niche, geography, and project size. However, in general, the required minimum consists of CMS, CRM, OMS, PIM. And also, MAS can be added to the list if the company cooperates with suppliers.
CMS — Content Management System
CMS is the technological basis of an online store, regardless of its size and niche. This is software that combines a set of programs that helps to manage the site's content. CMS greatly simplifies the work with a website. It allows backend-administrators to create, edit and store information. Customer contacts as basic CRM functions and product catalog as basic PIM functions are often saved in real-time here.
What complex e-commerce tasks does CMS solve?
Online shop management
Working with the site structure: adding, changing, deleting categories, pages, and blocks. Differentiating access rights to management tools. Setting-up payment and delivery methods, currency exchange rates;
Working with the product catalog
Adding and editing product cards at the manual level. Displaying important information about products and categories on the product page. Exporting a product catalog to price platforms and other sites in XLS and XML formats;
Data centralization
Posting information about goods, including modifications, characteristics, descriptions, photos, videos, prices, promotions, discounts. Data importing on stock balances from an accountant system;
Processing orders at a basic level
Accounting for all orders. Tracking order history and sending notifications like post numbers to customers;
Search engine optimization
Indexation of pages and images, generation and editing of tags. Creating semantically relevant content. Promotion of the mobile version of the site;
Site statistics
Tracking the data about site traffic and calculating the customer conversion;
Integration with valuable services
Connection of the site to third-party and internal applications that are part of the corporate IT infrastructure.
So, CMS is the foundation for the full-fledged administration of an online store. Many projects are limited to this system at the start. However, they cannot scale without additional critical tools. We recommend using services developed for specific tasks — CRM, OMS, PIM to manage e-commerce processes.
CRM — sales and customer relationship management
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is specialized software for customer communications and sales automation. Almost 54% of users managed to improve overall efficiency after implementing CRM in their online business. Online store owners most value such CRM functions as a history of customer orders and step-by-step order processing. CRM lets the company put the client at the forefront.
What tasks does CRM solve?
Work with the client base
Saving customer data in the purchase history. Collecting information about each online shop visit to create email newsletters, trigger campaigns, and personalized offers based on user activities on the site;
Sales process automation
Managing orders in a single window: accepting calls, registering purchase applications, processing them by managers, and transferring them to couriers for delivery;
Sales-funnel formation and visualization
Setting-up the transaction phases by the business needs and synchronization of actions with the CMS. Creating a funnel for each order subprocess. For example — approval details with a customer or preparing goods for shipment;
Sales department management
Creating platform access for managers to submit client information according to each manager's obligations. Tracking the sales managers' actions in the context of overall productivity;
Omnichannel communications
Interaction with customers through different channels (website, messengers, social networks, phone, email, SMS) to personalize the customer experience.
In general, CRM helps an e-commerce business improve customer service. When the task is to automate the order processes from different channels and transfer them to logistics, it also makes sense to implement an OMS (Order Management System) system.
OMS — Order Management
OMS (Order Management System) is a solution that automates the following processes: order creation, refining, execution, sending of status notifications. It is a single interface for interacting with customers in an omnichannel environment. In part, with the help of OMS, you can take control of the logistics and procurement.
What tasks does OMS solve?
Orders reception, distribution, and execution
Consolidation of information from all sales channels, including online, physical stores, call centers. The delegation of tasks to managers and notifying the client about every step of completing their order;
Storing the order history of all clients
Keeping information on all previous and current orders in the database. In the future, sales staff and marketers can use this information to timely communicate with the client;
Sales optimization
Providing sales managers and customer support with access to order data and information about returns and exchanges.
OMS is the best way to identify bottlenecks in the orders execution process. It is easier to track order progress, study KPIs, customize sales models, and predict results.
PIM is a system for professional product catalog management. This system creates, enriches, actualizes and distributes product cards to different sales channels. The solution is essential for online stores and everyone who deals with extensive product catalogs: marketplaces and physical trade chains, suppliers, distributors.

PIM allows you to save and process product data in one place to work with online, offline, and partner storefronts both offline and online. You can also delimit access to different employees (for example, suppliers, marketers, content managers).
A company can spend up to 25 minutes creating information about each SKU without PIM. Automation reduces this time to 4 minutes and less if you use automated updates.
What tasks does PIM solve?
Data collection and storage
Entering information into the system automatically or manually through downloading XML or other formats of files connected to the real-time product catalog. You can use bulk updates or editing to speed-up the work with the product cards;
Product catalog structuring
Creating categories and product cards, classifying this information based on specific characteristics and segments, filtering by attributes and other conditions;
Product information quality control
The system helps to keep product cards complete and up-to-date, so the customers always see true and verified information on the website.
Publication information to different sales channels
like price aggregators, marketplaces, print price tags, etc. In this case, PIM uploads information relevant to each specific channel.
Product flow management
Setting up the life cycle of a product, a list of its statuses and conditions for the transition between them. Automatic tasks to responsible content managers.
You can use your CMS or accountant system for e-commerce business that has less than 500 SKU. But this is a basic level of product information management. Mid-range e-commerce companies that are winning more market share in their industry use a professional system to scale their project as PIM is more functional and advanced.
MAS — Suppliers Account
MAS (Merchant Administration System) is a system for optimizing the work with merchants (suppliers). It is vital for marketplaces and hybrid e-commerce formats. That is why we have included MAS into the technological minimum. Although classic online shops can have few suppliers and manage work with them without MAS functionality.

Interactions with suppliers are in a single interface with the MAS help. There is a personal account for each merchant associated with the rest of the back-office modules. Thus suppliers can work with their product cards in PIM and process their orders in OMS.
What tasks does MAS solve?
Automation of merchants' onboarding
Registration suppliers, creating simple conditions for them to work with the catalog and orders. System of notifications for work issues;
Quality control by customer service;
The tracking of activity by suppliers on the platform and assessing their work with customers;
Optimization of work with product content
Merchants can upload their products to the system independently and publish them upon approval on an online shop or marketplace. The controlling administrators of the host e-commerce company only can validate submitted merchants' goods.
MAS, OMS, and PIM are the main components of any e-commerce project, working as a marketplace.

When creating the infrastructure of a large e-commerce project, one of the most critical issues is building interaction between all participants. Imagine how much data you will receive from different systems: customers' contacts, products, services, personnel, materials, and so on. All data sources must work together, and the data from these offline points of sales do not differ from the online store's data.

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